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March 28, 2017
A few weeks ago, I received an urgent text from two of my friends, Alex and Avery. The gist of the message: focus group participants were needed in 30 minutes for their market research project.
In an earlier post, I wrote about my own experience conducting a focus group for the same class in which my friends are now enrolled. Therefore, understanding the frustrations of gathering participants, I decided to take a break from my studying to join their focus group. Oh, and they had pizza, too. So apparently, one part procrastination and one part free food seems to be the best formula for recruiting student participants.
The focus group surrounded student usage of information channels and looked specifically at SpiderBytes—the UR campus announcement system that covers everything from student organization messages to academic event info. If you asked random students at the university about the system, you’d likely find a wide range of responses. Some students read SpiderBytes (which come in the form of a daily email) religiously, while others delete the message the second it shows up in their inbox. I personally lean more towards the avid reader side of things, but even still, I don’t think it’s perfect.
As a marketing student, I found it really interesting to see the varied ideas others had on how to improve the system and what they thought were its current successes.
Despite their last minute panic to find students, my friends did a great job conducting the focus group. They asked a lot of creative questions that really got us thinking about the essence of SpiderBytes and what the current brand perception was on campus. Questions like “Describe SpiderBytes as if it was a person” and “What kind of friends would these various social media outlets be?” led to some hilarious (yet extremely relevant) answers.
One lesson I learned from the experience—or rather re-learned—was that while it may take some incentives to motivate me to help out on a friend’s school project, I’m almost always glad I made the effort. Not only are you doing a friend a favor, you often get more out of the experience than you initially expected.
Why UR?A simple answer to the question "Why UR?" would be to say that it just felt right. Though, whereas that isn't inaccurate, I know how vague and frustrating an answer like that can be for readers. So, I will try to explain myself. The University of Richmond, as I researched it more and more, became continually more appealing. Every new thing I learned became another reason to attend. (That certainly was not the case with other schools.) I didn't have to wrestle with thoughts like, "I guess I can live with that" or "Maybe it won't seem like that when I'm actually there." In fact, even viewing the university with a critical eye, it was difficult to find something bad to say about it. That may sound like I'm simply affirming my final decision, but it's not easy to answer that question without directly showing someone what I'm trying to articulate. UR is a place that, although ripe for descriptive writing, must be experienced firsthand to truly understand. That, I believe, says more than any list of reasons ever could.